under the sovereignty beneath which they had no wish to live., making
null and void the phrases in the Declaration whereby they had solemnly
emphasised their willingness to C£ enable the liberated people to destroy
the last vestiges of Nazism and Fascism and to create democratic institu-
tions of their own choice."
But since the term * democracy 3 held different meanings for these
leaders of the £ opposite polar circles \ each could interpret them
according to his own scheme of things. The essence of democracy lies
in a government of its people, chosen by its people, and not by ministers
and ambassadors of foreign Powers. The real importance behind this
meeting, lay in the recognition, by the representatives of the Three
Powers, and in the stabilisation of that political order in Europe which,
brought into being by the German expansion had been taken over after
her defeat and continued under the guise of Russian c liberation'—a
set-up incompatible with democracy in the sense of that term as under-
stood by Pericles and Plato. This new Europe which the Big Three
were shaping in the Tsarist Palace at Yalta, and the form of Democracy
agreed upon in that edifice, impregnated with centuries of despotism,
meant the deprivation of the rights of those nations in the Middle Zone
to elect their own governments, recognition of the Soviets' Marshal as
the ruler of Yugoslavia and the silent acceptance of the series of puppet
governmental organs sponsored by the Soviets in the other States.
The selling of Poland accomplished at Teheran was now openly confirmed.
The ghosts of the murdered Tsars haunting this place at the Crimea,
(none of them had died peacefully in his bed) must have forgiven this
usurper to their blood-soaked throne when they saw how efficiently
he had taken over their imperialist plans to dominate the world.
The leaders of the Atlantic Democracies had left their respective
countries for the Yalta Conference recognising the Polish Government—
once having arrived in the Soviet Union it might never have existed.
Could this be considered otherwise than as a political and moral defeat
of the greatest magnitude ?
In 1939 Britain was ill-prepared for war, but rather than allow Hitler
to satisfy his territorial ambitions, or, as it might very easily have been—
Russian territorial demands, she had chosen war. In those days the
voice of Britain, that Britain towards whom the eyes of the free
peoples of the world had turned with proud admiration had rung with
a different tune. On December 15,1939, Halifax had spoken for Britain :—
" We have tried to improve our relations with Russia, but in doing so we
had always maintained the position that, rights of third parties must remain
intact and be unaffected by our negotiations.
" I have little doubt that the people of this country would prefer to face
difficulties and embarrassment rather than feel that we had compromised
the honour of this country and the Commonwealth.5*